It's been a long time since Avery was in Calgary. The last time, he was a Dallas Star and he greeted the press with a grin and stupid comment which ultimately culminated in a suspension, a demotion and, eventaully, a rocky road back to the NHL via New York. Some may expect some fireworks between Avery and Phaneuf, given Dion is still dating the object of controversy, but I wouldn't bet on it. Partially because it's a kinder, gentler Sean Avery these days, partially because worse is no doubt said on the ice anyways, and partially because I'm guessing both guys just want to put the whole stupid thing behind them.
Things to actually watch for tonight:
- Is Jarome stirring from his slumber? Or is the fact he still wallows in the red in terms of possession still a concern? The points are nice, but personally I'd be happier if Jarome spent more time in the offensive zone.
- Michael Del Zotto is getting a lot of consideration as a Calder favorite. Nice looking player for sure, but it's unlikely to last. He's underwater at ES, despite a really favorable zonestart (63% offensive zone) and he's personally riding a SH% of 26.7 which is shy high for a forward, let alone a blueliner.
- NYR has one real line to worry about at ES - the one with Gaborik on it. I assume Langkow's unit will get the unpleasant task of trying to shut down the ex-Wild sniper. Here's hoping the other trios can make hay against their counter-parts. In particular, I'm looking for Boyd/Glencross/Moss to start doing something useful. It's a good combination in theory, but all those guys have been fairly silent recently. There's also Jokinen/Iginla, of course, but my hopes of that pairing doing anything at 5on5 have sailed.
- No word if McGrattan draws in again tonight. Brashear is out, so it makes even less sense than it usually would to dress the enforcer, especially over a more useful player in Prust (who is reportedly healthy). McGrattan has been below the 2 minute mark his last couple of games and the 4th line got murdered in Dallas, even with Iginla being double-shifted in McGrattan's place all night. Put the goon in the pressbox, Sutter.
Comments a go-go.